Correspondent banking trends persisted in 2020, even as payment landscape changed, new data show

Press release  | 
13 December 2021

Correspondent banking trends continued in 2020, with the volume and value of transactions increasing despite the changing payments landscape during the pandemic, according to new data published today by the Committee on Payments and Market Infrastructures (CPMI).

Cross-border payment volume and value increased by 2% and 7%, respectively, in 2020. Correspondent banking relationships declined by 4% from the previous year, taking their total contraction to about 25% between 2011 and 2020.

Following a decline in early 2020, when the beginning of the pandemic induced a bout of market turmoil, the volume and value of correspondent banking rebounded, and the downward trend in relationships stabilised.

Some of the key factors contributing to the rapidly changing payments landscape, such as innovation, are discussed in detail in the Bank for International Settlements March 2020 Quarterly Review.

As the increase in volume and value of transactions shows, correspondent banking relationships continue to play a pivotal role in cross-border payments, despite their worldwide decline.

They offer an important payment channel for firms and households, and a critical loss of relationships could hurt financial inclusion, raise the cost of payments and push payments activity into less regulated areas.

The data are provided by SWIFT based on payment messages from more than 200 countries and jurisdictions.

The Bank for international Settlements' CPMI is an international standard setter that promotes, monitors and makes recommendations about the safety and efficiency of payment, clearing, settlement and related arrangements, thereby supporting financial stability and the wider economy.